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General Information Package — Governor Palin’s Executive Experience — Battle with Legislature Over the Stimulus Bill

On March 26, 2009, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was to have partaken in a teleconference with the state’s legislative leaders to discuss the stimulus package, when they canceled it and held their own press conference instead (Battle, 2009, ¶1).

Earlier, legislators had expressed concern over whether the governor might veto funds the legislature might add to the governor’s request for federal stimulus funds. The governor has made her position clear on stimulus funds and would not speculate on what she might do with legislation that continues to change and has not passed. While legislative leadership might want to take all federal funds, the legislature would still have to pass an appropriations bill that they might choose to amend in the legislative process after hearing more public testimony (Battle, 2009, ¶2).

“I can’t predict how much or what funds legislators might add to my request, and we haven’t heard all the public testimony yet,” Governor Palin said. “To say now what might happen with an unknown bill would be premature” (Battle, 2009, ¶3)

Governor Palin has said on numerous occasions that she would not pursue any stimulus funds that create un-funded state mandates. She has requested that the federal government provide clarification on such funds (Battle, 2009, ¶4).

“I have to certify that these funds will create jobs and stimulate the economy, and that’s why I requested federal funds for job-ready projects. If the legislature wants to add funds to grow government, then I also want to hear how we will get out of the fiscal hole we’ll be in just two years from now when those temporary stimulus funds are gone” (Battle, 2009, ¶5).

Commentary

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford joins ranks with Governor Palin in refusing major portions of the stimulus bill, though in his case, he appears to have rejected it entirely (Sanford, 2009). Both governors are locked in battles with their states’ legislatures. Both are being impugned by Obama supporters.

The Alaska state legislative leadership is clearly engaging in political chicanery and grandstanding. Governor Palin is doing right by re-asserting the position she has held all along. The fact that these leaders fear a veto is indicative. It appears these legislators are all too ready to expand the size and scope of their state’s government (and Governor Sanford is dealing with the same issue), but are nowhere to be found when asked the simple question of where they’re going to get the money for these expansions when the stimulus funds run dry in less than two years.

References

Governor comments on stimulus. (2009, March 26). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved March 26, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1725

Sanford, M. (2009, March 20). Why South Carolina doesn’t want ‘stimulus.’ Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 26, 2009 from: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123759827524401409.html

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